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At this point, we know that wearing face masks is key to help stopping the spread of coronavirus. But that doesn’t mean we can’t look good while doing so.
It’s important to know what kinds of fabrics work best, however. According to a new study from the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, cloth face masks made from fabrics with tight weaves, like cotton, natural silk, flannel, and chiffon, can provide significant protection by filtering out aerosol particles.
Combining fabrics—high thread count cotton with two layers of silk or two layers of chiffon, for example—is also effective, according to the study. What’s not great? Porous fabrics and low thread count cotton (80 thread count was tested).
Fit is critical, as well. The study found that big gaps can lead to a 60 percent decrease in filtration efficiency.
As you’ve probably heard, N95 respirators and surgical masks should be reserved for medical personnel. If you have any in your home, consider donating them to medical professionals in need through services like Mask Match. Don’t forget to also wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, carefully disinfect surfaces, and practice social distancing, too.
Let’s face it: Masks are pretty noticeable, so it makes sense to pick one that suits your style. Scroll down for the chicest masks on the market.
Reformation is using cotton, viscose, and Tencel to create these simple masks with straps. The black one is like the LBD of face masks—you’ll receive a random assortment of solids, prints, or both.
Shop it: 5X Masks — L.A. Protects, $25 for five, thereformation.com
MstyleClothing is making these two-layer linen masks of fabric wastes. Choose from 25 options.
Stay safe while looking sweet: These durable double-layer polyester versions feature a slip through-pocket for a medical mask insert (not included).
Made of two cotton layers, this charming check mask sports adjustable straps and an integrated metal nose-piece for a snug fit. Each mask comes with a PM2.5 filter; filters should be replaced every seven days.
Shop it: Protective Mask, $10, shopvida.com
Complete with a nose wire for comfort, these chic cotton muslin masks feature a double inner layer and a polypropylene filter. And the company gives back: for each mask bought, Sanctuary will provide masks to organizations in need.
Shop it: Five Pack Fashion PPE Masks, $28, sanctuaryclothing.com
These beauties, with two layers of toile de Jouy cotton, come with elastic bands or ribbons—the choice is yours. You’ll get a blue, red, and black in the pack.
With three layers of cotton and soft elastic ear loops, you’ll be cool and comfy at the same time.
Walking around wearing a mask can be kind of lonely—you can’t see anyone’s expression. But these masks give us something to smile about. Upload a photo of your smile and this genius company will print it onto cotton twill. Also choose from famous smiles ($20 each): Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, Julia Roberts, and Jack Nicholson.
You’ll receive an assortment of colors—denim, natural, black—when you order these dual-layer cotton face coverings from Citizens of Humanity, which has repurposed its sewing facilities to make masks during this crisis.
Shop it: Cotton Mask (5 pack), $25, citizensofhumanity.com
Four years ago, The Mighty Company made metallic fabrics at French mill Malhia Kent, which has created many of Chanel’s iconic tweeds. Now they’re using some of that leftover material for a great cause. Lined with 100 percent antimicrobial cotton and trimmed with glitter stretch nylon, this mask will make any outfit pop. For each mask sold, the company will donate one to the Midnight Mission homeless shelter in downtown Los Angeles.
Shop it: Face Mask, Red & White, $25, themightycompany.com
Walk on the wild side: This rayon and poly pique knit number will surely turn heads. For each mask sold, the company will donate three masks to those in need.
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